Lehmans techies start job hunt
As hard-up traders turn to eBay
Lehman Bros techies chucked onto the pavement yesterday face a decent chance of sliding into new jobs quickly, which may go some way towards sweetening the bitter pill of not receiving a final pay cheque.
The bank – in case you didn’t know – crashed spectacularly in the early hours of Monday. Staff turned unsecured creditors were left scrambling to use up their canteen credit cards and grab cases of vintage wine from its Canary Wharf offices as TV crews scrambled to get footage of newly unemployed bankers drowning their sorrows.
As the hangovers kick in this morning though, the latest casualties of capitalism will be getting their heads round the fact that there is no money in the kitty to pay them the current month’s wages. According to reports, the bank swept all its cash back to the US every night, before doling out whatever the international subsidiaries needed back first thing. Someone neglected to do this before Monday morning’s bust, meaning the administrators have nothing with which to meet $75m in salaries due this week.
This will, presumably, leave ex-staffers even more focused on finding another gig – at least those who were not on the absurdly stratospheric salaries that tend to undermine public sympathy for unhorsed masters of the universe.
Dominic Connor, director of City tech recruitment agency P&D Quantitative Recruitment, said the bust was squarely down to the credit bust, and even then: “No-one blames the techies in credit.”
He added that Lehman’s staff seemed “brighter than the average” and that “teams and business units will leave LB if not intact, then as a coherent group, some sold, some headhunted, some will set up on their own.”
With Barclays, amongst others, negotiating to buy chunks of the business today, some may barely skip a beat.
Headhunters were reported to have set up stall outside the beleaguered bank's London HQ yesterday, and are madly spamming their contacts lists as they try to collar the most desirable staff.
The only ones who might face a problem, Connor predicted, would be those who have become overspecialised. They will have to re-skill fast if they want to avoid structural unemployment he predicted. (Hint - think C++ or Haskell)
In the meantime, it seems some ex-Lehman’s staff are reinventing themselves as traders of a different kind. Inevitably, eBay is already awash in souvenirs of the late lamented bank, as this link shows.
A raft of corporate t-shirts are available, but more intriguing are the firm’s operating principals (sic), here, currently attracting $36 worth of interest, while the emergency evacuation kit, containing logo’d facemask and torch amongst other goodies, is generating interest in the region of $56. Which is more than you can expect if you’re a Lehmans bond holder today. ®
I used to go to auctions of companies that went titsup. You really do want to kick the blighters out and lock the doors before telling them they are offed-- or at least herd them into a large room, rescind all privileges, then tell them they are offed just before making a quick exit with armed guards...
Otherwise they'll take everything right down to the fluorescent lights and nice carpeting.
Reminds me of the looting in Napoleon's Grande Armee. You'd see some bloke marching along with a posh chair and full kit. Few KM up the road there's the chair. Well, but he's happy....
Mine's the one that looks like Lehman logo curtains with BearStearns carpeting trim and IKB Deutsche Industriebank letterhead bangles. Please don't drop the Northern Rock pen set sir.
Don't forget that your 'bonus' is actually based on the amount of unpaid overtime and callout that you do over a year. If you look at over IT jobs you'd expect to be paid an on-call allowance and overtime if you worked the weekends or extended hours. At LB it was expected that you would work on-call regularly and when you were on-call at the weekend it was for 60 hours, of which you could realistically expect to spend at least 20 of them at the computer.
I was fortunate in that I was contracted in by a company that did pay me for the extra hours, but in my humble opinion the guys deserved a lot more than they got in bonus, just for the work they put in - and then some!
Yeah, max - Well smart!
Seems more like 'Demonstrating Get-Smart risk management'.
My coat's beside the Cone-of Silence.
C++, Haskell, weird crap in general
I'm a specialised headhunter, we don't see much in the way of demand for Java. It barely shows up as noise. I know in the general market there's a lot of it around, but C++ people earn considerably more on average.
C++ is a highly portablr skill on more than one level, not only is it in a wider range of applications than Java, but people who hire the most expensive non-C++ developers say they still like to see it on a CV because it demonstrates you can cope with difficult stuff even if your job is actually writing Perl scripts to ingest data into Oracle.
Haskell is a niche skill, as it happens one we've been asked for at a couple of large banks.
In making career choices it is useful to know how many people do C++, SQL, Java, C# ,F#, REXX, Perl, Ruby etc, but not sufficient...
You need to know how supply and demand interact.
C++ demand is off it's peak, but supply has dropped pretty hard. Many CompSci courses take the soft option of teaching Java, some fools even try to teach operating system internals in it.
You have to make tough calls on what represent the best investment of your time and money.
C++ is not an easy language, I teach the blody thing to bankers, and there are videos of me staring at the screen wondering why the hell it's doing what it has just done.
But it's where the best money is to be found for the next 5 years or so.
C# isn't doing all that badly in the pay stakes.
@C++ not a transferrable skill?
>What language do you think is used in investment bank for mission-critical number-crunching?
COBOL as far as I can make out ;-) With a smidgen of CICS for the transactional processing.